[TEXT OMITTED FROM SOURCES] tions" among scientists who have been opposing tight controls, and new evidence that the research may not be nearly as dangerous as supposed.
In he House, Commerce Committee Chairman Harley M. Staggers (D-W.Va.) blocked a committee vote on another control bill proposed by Rep. Paul G. Rogers (D-Fla.) and approved by the Health and the Environment Subcommittee, which Rogers heads.
Staggers, too, cited scientists' fears that over-zealous federal control may squelch scientific inquiry and prevent new advances.
The questions of how to control this new kind of genetic research and whether to allow it at all have been hotly debated by scientists and concerned politicians and other citizens for four years.
Opponents of the research, and advocates of restraint, have argued that DNA laboratories may create organisms that cause new diseases or wipe out crops or animals, including the human animal.
The scientists doing the work first raised such fears. They declared a voluntary moratorium on many studies until the National Institutes of Health issued guidelines that now apply to all researchers using federal funds. The congressional battle has been over broadening the NIH rules to regulate all such research, whether it is federally funded or not, including studies by drug and chemical firms.
Both the Kennedy bill - already passed by the Senate Human Resources Committee whose Health and Scientific Research Subcommittee he heads - and the Rogers bill would regulate everyone. Some scientists have opposed both bills.
At the same time, some scientists - though a minority - have claimed that the dangers of the research are still great and the tightest kind of controls are needed.
Kennedy, too, yesterday said controls are still needed. But he suggested a "compromise" to allay scientists' fear of controls.
He said Dr. Stanley Cohen of Stanford University has reported information that "differs significantly" from that on hand when he first urged a bill. Cohen's work "raises serious questions as to whether recombinant DNA" - A new combinations of DNA - "can ever produce a 'novel' organism . . . Cohen believes . . . scientists can only duplicate what nature can already do," Kennedy said.
Cohen's report, to be published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in November, deals with geneti combinations in bacteria. Cohen said that "it turns out that Mother Nature has been capable all along of doing in cells what scientist can now do" in their laboratories.